Western Macedonia Youth strengthens its voice for the Just Transition

The Green Tank and the Association of Active Youths of Florina – OENEF successfully co-organized a “Youth Empowerment Workshop for the Just Transition” in Florina, aiming to strengthen the role and participation of youth of Western Macedonia.

Regions that for years were almost exclusively dependent on lignite activity are now planning the complete transformation of their economies and communities. The participation of youth in this process is necessary for the creation of a sustainable production and development model and a basic prerequisite for the success of the Just Transition.

In order to empower youth of Western Macedonia, Greece, to take active part in policies that will affect their lives, the Green Tank and the Association of Active Youths of Florina – OENEF co-organized the “Youth Empowerment Workshop for the Just Transition“. The workshop took place on 26 – 27 & 28 May in Florina with the participation of a small group of young people aged 19 to 32 years old, who worked on formulating their own asks and proposals for the future they envision. Through informative lectures, discussions and participatory exercises, the attendants became familiar with the latest developments around the Just Transition, developed advocacy skills and discussed ways of using the mass and social media.

The workshop concluded with the youth participants having planned in practice their participation in the governance of the Just Transition, opening up pathways for exchange, cooperation and promotion of their asks.

The idea was essentially born out of the challenges and opportunities created by the Just Transition. The role of Youth is essential for the transition to be truly Just and to ensure a future for Western Macedonia with youth in being dynamic and in the forefront!” said Dr. Konstantinos Stergios, Vice President of the Association of Active Youths of Florina and Head of Europe Direct Western Macedonia.

During this Youth Empowerment Seminar for the Just Transition we had the opportunity to meet and get in touch with other young people from the regional units in transition, as well as to discuss our concerns and ideas. With the guidance of OENEF and the Green Tank we analyzed important concepts and dimensions of the Just Transition and managed to follow the advocacy steps to properly set up our own proposal for the inclusion of youth in the decision-making process“, said workshop participant Rafailia Georgia Stukis – Professor of English, International Relations specialist.

During the three days of the workshop we sought to strengthen the skills of the youth participants so that they can claim the future they envision for Western Macedonia. We listened to their anxieties, their interests and hopes and we will support them in the implementation of their ideas for a truly sustainable and Just Transition“, said Ioli Christopoulou, Policy Director and Co-founder of the Green Tank.

During the interactive workshop, targeted discussions were held also with Associate Professor of the Department of Journalism, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Ioanna Kostarella on regional media and their role in the Just Transition and with former Mayor of Kozani, Lefteris Ioannidis on the successful advocacy example of the establishment of the National Just Transition Fund that channels public resources to support the Greece’s lignite regions.

On behalf of the co-organisers participants included:

Konstantinos Stergiou, Vice President of the Association of Active Youths of Florina and Head of Europe Direct Western Macedonia

Ioli Christopoulou, Policy Director and Co-Founder, The Green Tank

Nikos Mantzaris, Energy and Climate Policy Analyst and Co-Founder, The Green Tank

Elena Psyllakou, Communications Officer, The Green Tank